- The Washington Times - Friday, June 6, 2008

MONTEAGLE (AP) | A man suspected of killing a deputy sheriff and wounding another was caught Thursday night after he survived shooting himself at the end of a daylong manhunt, authorities said.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation chief said agents found Kermit E. Bryson, 29, behind his girlfriend’s house and negotiated with him for about 20 minutes before he shot himself in the head.

Bryson, a tattoo artist, was transported by helicopter to a Chattanooga hospital. A spokeswoman at Erlanger Hospital said information on his condition wouldn’t immediately be released.

TBI Director Mark Gwyn said officers did not fire any shots.

“We gave it the best effort we could,” he said.

Federal, state and local authorities launched an “all-out manhunt” for Bryson after the early morning shooting death of Grundy County sheriff’s Deputy Shane Tate, 28.

Deputy Tate died at a mobile home where he was trying to take Bryson into custody on a probation violation warrant. Officers had been looking for Bryson for six to eight months when they found him about 3 a.m. Thursday at a mobile home in Monteagle, a town of 1,200 people along Interstate 24 about 35 miles northwest of Chattanooga.

Monteagle Police Officer Brian Malhoit was grazed by a bullet but not seriously hurt. A reserve deputy also at the scene wasn’t injured.

TBI spokeswoman Kristin Helm said the three officers approached Bryson’s mobile home carefully and made their way inside. Officers often serve warrants early in the morning, expecting suspects to be asleep.

“The officer was actually shot inside the residence,” she said.

A neighbor and longtime friend of Bryson’s said shooting someone would be out of character for him.

“He’s not a bad guy. He had to freak out in some way,” said Tim D. Sanders, 30, who said he and Bryson spent weekends in jail together last summer and that the slain deputy was the jailer. He said Deputy Tate and Bryson were friendly.

Grundy County Mayor LaDue Bouldin said Deputy Tate was married with five young children and had graduated from a law-enforcement-training academy just two weeks ago.

Bryson’s criminal record includes convictions for theft, burglary and a jail escape in 2001.

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